Free and responsible: Sexuality, pastoral, and the art of governance in Catholic Conjugal Centres (1953–1990)

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Anne-Sophie CROSETTI
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This article deals with a socio-historical enigma: the articulation of family planning – through dedicated centres – and catholicism. How come self-identified catholics ended up defending contraception and decriminalisation of abortion while the Catholic Church kept reminding that sexuality should be conjugal and reproductive? The article examines the process of creating a discursive and practical normativity allowing the use of contraception and abortion through a catholic ‘tool’, that is, the pastoral power at a time of secularisation. Borrowing the concept developed by Michel Foucault enables highlighting the ‘catholic governmentality’ regarding contraception and abortion, namely, the ‘responsible-freedom’.